Dog Adoption: A Great Way to Finding Your Perfect ESA

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: December 21, 2023

There are millions of dogs and cats worldwide that are without forever homes – many of them ending up in shelters where the horrible truth is many will be euthanized due to the severe lack of funding provided to these organizations. In this article, we want to encourage people to adopt, not shop! Dog adoption is a beautiful and noble cause!

One of the most rewarding things in life is owning a pet. Pets never judge and are a valuable source of unconditional love and support for owners all over the world. This is especially true for those who are living with mental health struggles. Studies have shown that having a pet or emotional support animal can relieve and assist with many conditions, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and more.

Remember, while pets can help you, it’s also inspiring to know that you are also in a position to help pets!


Adopt! Don’t Shop: Dog Adoption Means Healing Together

Dogs that find themselves in a shelter often have experienced some rough times in their lives. But shelter dogs are assessed to ensure they are not dangerous, and even those that are timid and scared around people are able to be nurtured back to loving pets.

The process of dog adoption and helping a dog live its best life can be an amazing healing process for both pet and owner.

Any Dog Can Be an Emotional Support Dog: Take the First Step to Get Your ESA!

If you are thinking of taking the plunge into dog adoption, remember – any dog is eligible to become an emotional support animal. Take CertaPet’s free 5-min online pre-screening to see if YOU are eligible for an ESA letter!

Your dog does not have to be as a specific breed of dog bought from a breeder to qualify. In fact, often dogs from shelters are more resilient and have less behavioral problems than those from breeders.

Not All Rescue Dogs are Mutts: There Are All Sorts of Dogs for Adoption!

There can sometimes be a snobby misconception that municipal shelters only have mixed breed dogs or mutts as they are commonly known. Besides the fact that mutts make awesome loyal dogs, this presumption is completely untrue. Many shelters have a wide range of breeds looking for their forever homes, so it’s fake news that you can only get purebred dogs from a breeder.

Besides your local shelter, there are also many breed-specific rescue groups throughout the United States. If you’re looking to adopt a cheeky Chihuahua or loving Labrador, try finding a breed rescue group in your state.

Another myth is that only adult dogs are available to adopt at humane societies. This often causes those seeking a puppy to use the services of a breeder, however, this is totally unnecessary. Shelters all around the U.S. have a range of dogs and puppies waiting like the good dogs they are to find their new homes.

That also includes senior dogs! Sometimes dogs in their twilight years find themselves looking for a new home after their owner unexpectedly passes away. A senior dog can be a wonderful calm pet with none of the naughty habits of a puppy!

Bought or Adopted: There are 2 Vital Laws That Protect ESAs!

Living with an ESA has been shown to have huge benefits for owners requiring support when they are going through difficult times or struggling with mental health issues.

Luckily, the U.S. Government recognizes how vital emotional support animals are, and has created two laws to reflect this.

Aircraft Carrier Access Act (ACAA)

The ACAA allows those with a legitimate emotional support animal (in most cases only cats and dogs) to travel with them by plane without incurring an extra fee.

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The FHA protects people from being discriminated against and being refused reasonable accommodation on the grounds that they have an ESA.

How CertaPet Helps People Get Their ESA Letter

Certapet streamlines and simplifies the process of obtaining an ESA letter for your pet by putting everything you require to get documentation in one place.

After you have adopted your pet, and they have settled in, all you need to do is undertake Certapet’s simple 5-minute pre-screening process to get the ball rolling.

After being approved through this simple online check, Certapet will put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) near you, who will assist in issuing your ESA letter.

This is a far less daunting and anxiety-producing experience than attempting to seek out an LMHP yourself and having to attend the office of a psychologist or psychiatrist in person.

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance: When You Adopt a Dog, You Both Get a New Lease on Life!

Like some humans in the world, many dogs are neglected, abandoned and even abused in horrifying ways by evil people. Dogs only see the best in their owners, and their positive outlook on life is totally inspiring.

When you adopt a dog not only are you helping yourself by having a supportive, calming presence in your life, but you are helping an innocent animal find happiness.

We think that everyone – human or animal – deserves a second chance. That’s why adopting a dog or cat” href=”” data-wpil-keyword-link=”linked”>cat is such a wonderful thing to do. Think of it as a new beginning for both pet and owner.

Excuse us while we just do a little ugly cry over here!

Do You Want to Adopt a Pet? The Pet Adoption Process Explained!

If you’re interested in adopting a pet but have never been through the process before, we’re here to help.

We’ve broken it down into steps to help you get familiar with the process!

Step 1

Work out what type of dog would suit your lifestyle. Size, temperament, exercise and grooming needs should all play a part in your choice.

Step 2

Scope out adoption centers near you. We have listed some of the best places for dog adoption below by state. Have a few options in mind so you can see a broad selection of pups.

Step 3

Meet and greet your potential new pupper. Most adoption centers will have specific opening hours when potential pet parents can come through and meet all the beautiful dogs and cats that are up for adoption. Watch how a dog you are interested in adopting interacts with you, other dogs and other people.

Step 4

Once you think you’ve found your doggy BFF, it’s time to sign the shelter paperwork, pay the adoption fee and organize pick up of your dog.

If your dog is new to the shelter it may need to undergo a spay or neuter operation in order to ensure it cannot have puppies. This is an important thing to do as a responsible pet owner.

Adoption fees take into account the fee to provide this surgery, however, the fees are far lower than buying from dog breeders. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 up to $330 for a puppy in adoption fees, depending on the adoption center.

Step 5 

Make sure you have all the goodies your new pal needs (food, bedding, leash, and collar) before you take your new pet home.

Note that some adoption centers provide a trial period to make sure your dog and you suit each other, however, adoption policies may differ at each center.

Dog Adoption Near Me? Pet Adoption Near Me? Animals Need Rescuing Everywhere!

With the number of gorgeous doggos needing a home, there is bound to be an adoption group near you. In fact, there’s probably a whole selection! We’ve put together a quick guide to point you in the right direction.


Visit a Local Dog Rescue Facility or Dog Shelter and Find Your Potential Furever Friend!

There are so many shelters, dog rescues, and humane animal society centers in the country doing good things for pets of all shapes and sizes, so let’s check them out state by state.

Dog Adoption NYC

Living in the city shouldn’t stop you from getting an ESA. There are multiple places in NYC where you can adopt a pet. Some of the most popular to find your friend include City Critters, which works with PetSmart charities to place cuddly pets in person, Animal Care Centers of NYC, and the ASPCA Adoption Center.

Dog Adoption San Diego

Some of the best adoption centers in San Diego are the San Diego Humane Society, Second Chance Dog Rescue and Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Dog Adoption Bay Area

Peruse Wonder Dog Rescue, San Francisco Animal Care and Control, or Family Dog Rescue.

Dog Adoption Los Angeles

Some of the best shelters include Vanderpump Dogs, NKLA Adoption Centre, and Wags and Walks Adoption Center.

Dog Adoption Chicago

The best dog adoption centers in Chicago are PAWS Chicago, Chicago Canine Center, and The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Dog Adoption NJ

Check out Friends of Linden Animal Shelter and Wilma’s dog adoption.

Dog Adoption Las Vegas

Great shelters include The Animal Foundation and Hearts Alive Village.

Dog Adoption MN

Start your search at Wags & Whiskers Animal Rescue or Secondhand Hounds.

Dog Adoption MA

Northeast Animal Shelter,  MSPCA Animal Care, and Adoption Center are good places to begin looking.

Dog Adoption Denver

Reputable shelters include Denver Animal Shelter and MaxFund.

Looking for a Feline Friend? Maybe Dog Shelters aren’t the Place to Find a Pet!

Cats are also available for adoption if you think that soothing purring could be exactly what you need to help you to heal. While you can sometimes find these flufsters in dog and cat shelters, did you know there are also shelters specifically for felines? Check out options in your state.

Cats in Pet Rescue Facilities are Waiting for Their Happy Ever After!

If you don’t think that you’re ready for the commitment of a dog, then why not rescue a cat as an emotional support animal. Cats and kittens are just as adoptable as dogs and much more independent. That said, there’s nothing like kitty lap cuddles to soothe the soul.

Whether Canine or Feline: You Can’t Go Wrong with Adopting a Furry Friend!

Whether you feel a shelter dog or cat is more suited to your lifestyle, there’s no doubt that a shelter pet will improve your life exponentially.

Adopters of all sorts of shelter dog breeds agree there’s just something special about a rescue dog. If you need emotional support, adopting could be the ideal choice. You can help yourself and a worthy pooch or kitty at the same time.

When you have found your perfect potential ESA, simply take CertaPet’s pre-screening to get the ball rolling and make your dog an emotional support dog!

Common Questions on Dog Adoption

Can I adopt a puppy?

How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

Where is the closest dog adoption near me?

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